Schlesinger and Buchbinder LLP

Schlesinger and Buchbinder LLP

Helping individuals and companies transact business, protect their interests and achieve their goals

Firm Overview

Schlesinger and Buchbinder attorneys help individuals and companies create opportunities and solve problems. Whether it is to help you transact your business or protect your real estate interests, we will help you achieve your goals. Since 1978, Schlesinger and Buchbinder has been providing customized legal services and practical advice that is responsive to clients' needs.

The firm, located in Newton, Massachusetts, offers efficiency and economy along with the breadth of knowledge, depth of experience and capability more often found at larger law firms. Schlesinger and Buchbinder attorneys are also engaged in the community, serving on nonprofit boards and bar associations, active in community groups, involved on civic committees and providing pro bono legal assistance to those in need.

Founded in 1978, Schlesinger and Buchbinder is engaged in the general practice of law, concentrating in real estate law, business law and commercial transactions, litigation and family law. Schlesinger and Buchbinder's clients range from private individuals and local businesses to companies with regional and national interests.

Representative clients in real estate and business transactions include commercial developers, financing institutions, residential real estate purchasers and sellers, restaurants and other food service companies, health clubs, construction and design firms, manufacturing companies and health care practices.

Litigation clients include real estate developers, commercial landlords and tenants, contractors, subcontractors, homeowners, employers, employees and individuals.

In the family law area, the firm works with individuals and families on domestic relations, ante-nuptial agreements, post-divorce proceedings, guardianships, estate planning and administration.

Main Office

Main Office
1200 Walnut Street
Newton MA 02461-1267



Estate Planning

Schlesinger and Buchbinder provides estate planning services for individuals and families.

We handle all types of estate planning, from basic to complex, and we walk clients through the entire process, including the necessary follow-up work after signing documents. We work with a variety of clients, ranging from the young parents who need simple wills and related documents, to wealthy clients who need estate tax planning. Our philosophy is to explain things to clients so that they can understand what they are doing and why, making them comfortable with the process and the ultimate documents.

Included in the firm's estate planning services are:

-Powers of Attorney
-Health Care Proxies and Living Wills
-Revocable Trusts
-Irrevocable Trusts
-Techniques to reduce federal and Massachusetts estate taxes
-Techniques to avoid the 1+ year probate process

Lori McPhee

Schlesinger and Buchbinder LLP

Practice Areas: Real estate and business transactions; zoning, permitting and licensing matters; purchase, sale, leasing and financing of real estate; and purchase and sale of businesses.

Representative Clients: Steve recently obtained approval on behalf of Normandy Real Estate Partners for a mixed use development of 580,000 square feet at the Riverside MBTA site, which will include offices, apartments, retail space and a community center. He has also guided several local food and beverage establishments through the municipal approval process, including Panera Bread, the Hotel Indigo, Dunn Gaherin's, Fiorella's, O'Hara's, The Rox Cafe, Cook, Tartufo, The Biltmore, Bill's Pizzeria, Peet's Coffee, Baza and b Street.

Steve has obtained zoning approvals for the Charles River Country Club, the Woodland Golf Club, Milton's Store for Men, the Nathaniel Allen House, Riverside Children's Center, Hess Express, Sovereign Bank, Bank of America, Fay School, the Russian School of Mathematics and Exxcel Gymnastics and Climbing. Additionally, he has represented institutional lenders including The Village Bank, Century Bank and Boston Private Bank and Trust Company, and developers of multi-family housing, including Cabot, Cabot and Forbes, Criterion Development Partners and Carabetta Enterprises, Inc. He has drafted condominium documents for both large and small condominiums. Steve also serves as general counsel to a number of small businesses and local counsel to the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Education: Bowdoin College (cum laude) 1970; Boston College Law School (J.D. cum laude) 1974; Boston College Industrial and Commercial Law Review; Order of the Coif.

Admitted: 1974 Massachusetts; 1975 United States District Court, Massachusetts; 1975 United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit; 1980 United States Supreme Court.

Community: Steve served as Chairman of the Newton Housing Authority for 15 years and coached youth basketball and Little League.

Little known facts: Steve is a certified high school basketball official and an avid tennis player.


Boston College Law School
Juris Doctorate, 1974


Schlesinger and Buchbinder LLP

Practice Areas: Commercial real estate; real estate finance and lending; zoning; construction and design contracts; small businesses including corporations, limited liability companies, partnership and equity investing agreements; condominiums; affordable housing; non-profit organizations

Representative Clients: Alan serves as counsel to individuals and to small and medium sized companies in a broad range of industries including real estate and business clients. Typical business clients include real estate owner/developers such as Benchmark Senior Living, Brophy & Phillips Co. Inc., Fairlane Properties Inc., The Barkan Companies, Rochester Management Co., commercial lenders including Rockland Trust Company, multiple residential lenders, architectural and design firms such as ADD, Inc., and not for profit firms such as Newton Community Development Foundation, Inc.

Zoning Clients: For many years Alan has served as special zoning counsel in Newton for institutional clients such as the Jewish Community Centers and Hebrew College and for private development clients including AvalonBay Communities and Northland Investment Corporation. Alan has recently represented Bierbrier Development in permitting for the Needham Street Village Shoppes and Sanford Custom Builders in redevelopment of 170 Needham Street

Education: Princeton University (A.B. Econ) 1968; Boston College Law School (J.D. cum laude) 1974; Boston College Industrial and Commercial Law Review; Order of the Coif

Admitted: 1974 Massachusetts; 1974 United States District Court, Massachusetts; 1979 United States Supreme Court

Community: Alan has served in a variety of community organizations including terms as a Director of Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly (Chair 1993-1996), Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston (Vice President), Jewish Community Day Care Corporation (President 1991-1993), Newton Schools Foundation, Newton Central Little League, Newton North High School Council

Little known facts: Alan served as an officer in the U.S. Navy 1968-1970 and has for several years maintained a beginner status in both golf and skiing


Boston College Law School
Juris Doctorate, 1974

Leonard M. Davidson

Schlesinger and Buchbinder LLP

Practice Areas: Civil litigation including contracts, construction, real estate disputes, general commercial litigation, and personal injury. Residential real estate representing both buyers and sellers of houses.

Representative Clients: Len has tried and handled civil litigation cases before judges and juries at all levels of the Massachusetts courts as well as at the Federal level in the United States District Court. His clients have ranged from national firms in high-stakes litigation, to individuals embroiled in neighbor disputes. He has won both million-dollar verdicts and been involved in cases that established new law. He has also been named a "Superlawyer" by Boston Magazine for his litigation skills.

Education: Brandeis University 1978; Boston University Law School 1981

Admitted: 1981 Massachusetts; 1982 United States District Court, Massachusetts; 1982 United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

Community: Len has served as President of Temple Ohabei Shalom in Brookline and as the chair of the Speakers Bureau of the Anti-Defamation League of New England, as well as serving on its regional Board. He was recently elected to the North American Board of Trustees of the Union for Reform Judaism.

Little known facts: Since he can no longer play his favorite sport of football, Len now loves to play golf, ski, and play low-stakes poker with "the boys". When he is at home, he enjoys cooking, reading, and watching sports.

Sherman H. Starr, Jr.

Schlesinger and Buchbinder LLP

Sherman (Sandy) Starr's real estate and business law practice includes commercial leasing, real estate acquisitions and sales, real estate development, real estate and asset based lending, business formation and transactions, workouts, conveyancing, residential lending, and title insurance. He represents buyers, sellers, lenders, borrowers, landlords, tenants and corporations throughout the Boston area and across New England. Sandy handles both commercial and residential real estate matters, and is an agent for Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company and First American Title Insurance Company.

Representative Experience

Representation of a national company in connection with its leasing of over twenty five commercial locations nationally.
Representation of a national bicycle sharing company in connection its expanding commercial leases and license agreements.
Representation of clients in both commercial and residential real estate matters.
Representation of borrowers and lenders in connection with their commercial and residential lending transactions.
Title agent for Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company and First American Title Insurance Company.
Professional and Community Involvement
Real Estate Bar Association for Massachusetts
Real Estate Bar Association for Massachusetts Leasing Committee
Temple Israel Finance Committee
Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston, Inc. Former Director
Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston, Inc. Community Leadership Counsel
Charles River Watershed Association River Tester
Belmont Hill School Class Agent

Bar Admissions

Heather G. Merrill

Schlesinger and Buchbinder LLP

Heather practices in commercial real estate, real estate finance and lending, construction and design contracts, real estate entities, including corporations and limited liability companies and equine law.

Education: Mount Holyoke (A.B. Sociology, cum laude with high honors in sociology) 1991; Suffolk University Law School (J.D. cum laude) 1994; Moot Court Board, 1992-1994.

Admitted: 1994 Massachusetts

Community: Heather has represented several therapeutic riding organizations, served on the Board of Directors for Lovelane Special Needs Horseback Riding Program, Inc. and as the volunteer coordinator for the Spring and Fall Symposiums of New England Dressage Association. She has trained her Samoyed, Kiko, to be a therapy dog with the Delta Society and is a regular volunteer for Wayside Hospice.

Practice Description: For more than 15 years, Heather has focused her practice in the area of Commercial Real Estate, representing owners and developers in the acquisition, development, construction, management, leasing and sale of commercial properties throughout the country. She has worked in both large and small law firms, bringing the best of both worlds to her practice. She learned to be a community attorney, focused on practicing with an attention to detail and a personal touch during her early years at Schlesinger and Buchbinder, LLP (1994-1997). After three years at Schlesinger and Buchbinder, Heather joined the real estate group at Hill & Barlow, where she assumed primary responsibility for major transactions across the country. When Hill & Barlow dissolved in early 2003, Heather joined the Boston office of Piper Rudnick, LLP, now known as DLA Piper. In mid-2004, Heather left Piper to return to Schlesinger and Buchbinder, where she continues to practice commercial real estate and equine law, bringing large firm training to the personal, community nature of a suburban firm. At Schlesinger and Buchbinder, Heather maintains the same high standards of creativity, thoughtfulness, attention to detail and responsiveness of a downtown firm, with the efficiency, economy and convenience of a suburban law firm.

Little known facts: Heather rode horses for more than 20 years (primarily, in the disciplines of eventing and dressage). She has owned two horses and leased many others. Her current passions are spending time with family, human and animal hospice, training her dog in mushing, agility and therapy work and Nia.


Suffolk University Law School
Juris Doctorate, 1994

Paul N. Bell

Schlesinger and Buchbinder LLP

Paul Bell joined Schlesinger and Buchbinder, LLP in 2012 after seven years practicing at his own firm, the Law Offices of Paul N. Bell, which he founded in 2005. Prior to founding the Law Office of Paul N. Bell, Paul practiced at the Boston office of the national law firm of Greenberg Traurig.

Before going to law school, Paul Bell co-founded and was the President of Kelly, Bell, Lee & Company, a real estate brokerage and management company. Kelly, Bell, Lee & Company managed at portfolio of approximately 300 residential units and 500,000 square feet of office, retail and industrial space, including oversight of significant renovation and tenant improvement projects. He sold the company in 1992 to go to law school. Before founding Kelly, Bell, Lee & Company, he worked in a variety of real estate related fields, including construction design and development.

Areas of Concentration:

- Commercial & Residential Real Estate
- General Business and Finance
- Equipment Leasing & Finance
- Aviation


- J.D. Boston College Law School 1996
- B.A. University of California Santa Barbara 1982.

Other Activities:

- Member of the Town of Brookline Preservation Commission
- Chairperson, Town of Brookline Neighborhood Conservation District Commission
- Member of the Newton Needham Chamber of Commerce


Boston College Law School
Juris Doctorate, 1996

Katherine Braucher Adams

Schlesinger and Buchbinder LLP

Practice Areas: Zoning, permitting and licensing matters (including work with local historical commissions); purchase, sale, leasing and financing of real estate; domestic relations.

Representative Clients: Katherine has represented a number of individual clients relative to their zoning and permitting needs, in addition to several local businesses and non-profit organizations, including Riverside Children's Center; the Russian School of Mathematics; the Newton Cultural Alliance; Concord Academy; the Suzuki School of Newton; Baza; Bank of America; The Village Caf; and The Biltmore.

Education: Katherine earned her B.A. from Brown University in 1997, and graduated from Boston College Law School (J.D.,cum laude) in 2002. She has been licensed by the Massachusetts Probate Court to serve as a guardian ad litem in custody matters.

Admitted: 2002 Massachusetts

Previous Associations: After law school, Katherine spent two years clerking for the Justices of the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court. Thereafter, she practiced domestic relations law at Brofsky & Richter.

Little Known Facts: Katherine serves as the Treasurer for her son's travel hockey team, and helped to establish the disability awareness curriculum at the Newman Elementary School in Needham. She also helps run a summer camp for children in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Her passions are spending time with her three children and knitting.


Boston College Law School
Juris Doctorate, 2002

Franklin J. Schwarzer II

Schlesinger and Buchbinder LLP

Franklin practices commercial real estate, litigation, real estate finance and lending, residential real estate and municipal zoning and permitting.

Transactions: As a litigator and advocate, Franklin represents clients in state courts and in front of municipal boards and commissions. While still a law student, Franklin was selected for an internship with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague where he assisted in the prosecution of several high profile military and political leaders, including Slobodan Milosevic.

Franklin's transactional work involves commercial and residential real estate acquisitions and sales of properties located throughout the United States including VTT Properties' acquisition of multifamily properties in Oklahoma and North Carolina and Paragon Properties' acquisition of apartment and office properties in Massachusetts.

Education: Johns Hopkins University (B.A. International Relations) 1998; Boston College Law School (J.D.) 2006

Admissions: 2006 Massachusetts; 2007 United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts; 2006 United States First Circuit Court of Appeals

Community: Franklin currently teaches courses on the 1st Amendment, media ethics, and the law of war at Harvard University's extension and summer schools. He is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association and Boston Bar Association.

Little known facts: Prior to law school, Franklin served on active duty as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps and deployed in support of operations throughout the Mediterranean and the former Yugoslavia. He has lived overseas in Holland, Russia, and Turkey.


Boston College Law School
Juris Doctorate, 2006

Robin Gorenberg

Schlesinger and Buchbinder LLP

Practice Areas: Estate Planning; estate administration and probate; estate tax preparation

Practice Description: Robin has over 20 years experience counseling clients in the areas of estate planning and probate. She handles all types of estate planning, from simple Wills and Powers of Attorney, to Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts. Robin's forte is to explain things to clients in terms that they can understand, and prides herself on helping clients navigate their estate planning options.

Brandeis University 1981; Boston College Law School 1988

Admitted: Massachusetts

Community: Robin is a member of the Boston Bar Association (Trusts & Estates Section), the MA Bar Association (Probate Law Section), and the Trusts & Estates Consortium.

Point of Interest: Robin was recently quoted in the NY Times in an article entitled "Choosing the Right Executor For Your Estate".

Little known facts: Robin is a musician pianist and singer/songwriter. She also loves to bicycle ride by the Charles River and on the Cape Cod bike trail.

Rachael Carver

Schlesinger and Buchbinder LLP

Rachael C. Carver joined Schlesinger and Buchbinder, LLP in 2013 after practicing at the Law Offices of Paul N. Bell where she focused on commercial and residential real estate and general business law. Prior to joining the Law Offices of Paul N. Bell she worked for a small firm that focused on civil litigation with its primary focus being on contract and construction disputes.

While in law school she worked for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at the Department of Public Safety and was an intern with the Massachusetts Attorney General.

Areas of Concentration:

- Commercial & Residential Real Estate
- General Business and Finance
- Equipment Leasing & Finance
- Aviation


- New England School of Law (J.D.) 2006
- Northeastern University (B.S., cum laude) 2002


New England School of Law
Juris Doctorate, 2006